With the highly anticipated release of your debut album, “Uten Nådigst Formildelse,” just around the corner, what are the emotions and anticipation like for you as you prepare to present this record to the world?
Ofc, I’m excited. But, based on the feedback so far it looks good. But me and Thomas is happy with the album and that’s the most important thing for Ekrom. If people like’s it, it’s a bonus.
Ekrom is a new formation hailing from Norway, known for its rich black metal history. How did the band come together, and what inspired you to embark on this musical journey?
It started with me having an idea and a vision to make black metal in the good old 90s style. Ekrom started out as a one-man band, but I needed a drummer, so a friend of mine sent Thomas some home-made Ekrom demos and asked if he would play drums (I’ve always thought that Thomas plays cool drums with a lot of feeling). He liked what he heard and said yes to play drums. The rest is history.
How have your previous musical experiences shaped the sound and direction of Ekrom?
Im not sure about that. But I almost only listen to BM from the 90s. Something that I think you can hear on the record. My friends say I’m very narrow minded when it comes to music. I guess that’s true too. I mostly listen to the old albums from the 90s by Burzum, Emperor, Carpathian Forest and Gehenna.
Your EP “The Black Flames of Seth” served as a precursor to the album release. How does it set the tone for “Uten Nådigst Formildelse,” and what can listeners expect in terms of musical progression and thematic exploration?
The songs on “The Black Flames of Seth” I made in the same period as “Uten Nådigst Formildelse”. Themes and progression are probably pretty much the same on TBFOS as on UNF. We recorded the whole record in the same period, and when that was finished we chose 3 songs that we sent around to record companies as a demo.
The production on the album is described as crisp, clear, and simultaneously dense, evoking the mysticism and darkness of the 1990s black metal era. How did you approach capturing this atmospheric sound, and what significance does it hold for the overall listening experience?
I wanted to try and get the sound on the record as organic as possible and as ugly as possible, but at the same time sounding professional.
Capture the sound and production BM band had in the 90’s. I’m not a big fan of over-produced BM with triggered drums etc.
“Uten Nådigst Formildelse” is praised for its imaginative and immersive songwriting. Can you delve into the creative process behind crafting these transportive and eldritch compositions, and how you balance the atmospheric elements with the raw aggression of black metal?
It is a bit difficult to explain the process in it. I don’t have any plans for how the songs will turn out. They develop over time as the song becomes more and more finished.
Sometimes it might start with a riff and go with it. Sometimes riffs can come out while I’m sitting and playing with my guitar for fun. But mostly I get melodies in my head that I learn on guitar and record in my home studio. Then I start experimenting a bit with that riff and various arrangements by adding drums, synths and more guitar.
The cover art for the album, created by Heidi Irene Kainulainen, is captivating. Can you discuss the collaboration and how the artwork reflects the essence of “Uten Nådigst Formildelse”?
A friend of mine had that painting and I thought it suited Ekrom’s music well. We did some changes to the cover so it suited Ekrom even better. I’m very pleased with the outcome.
Wanted a cover that was the right arm of the music and would help to bring out the atmosphere in the music that I’m looking for. When I look at the cover, I get the same image in my head as when I listen to and make music for Ekrom.
In an era where there is no shortage of bands offering classic ’90s-style black metal, how do you ensure that Ekrom stands out as authentic and invigorating, given your firsthand experiences from that era?
It is not so important for me to stand out musically and have my own sound. I make music that I like and gives me some sort of mood.
The album title, “Uten Nådigst Formildelse,” translates to “Without Merciful Pity” in English. What is the significance of this title, and how does it tie into the lyrical themes explored throughout the album?
“Uten Nådigst Formildelse” is what the judges told Svartbækken when he was sentenced to death.
(Our band name Ekrom comes from a forest/swamp from my hometown. The special thing about that place is that it was where Norway’s last execution in peacetime took place. The execution was on a man named Svartbækken and he was decapitated. This happened in 1876.)
Svartbekken killed a 19-year-old man with name Even. Even was on his way home when Svartbækken jumped out of the forest and killed him with an axe.
“Uten Nådigst Formildelse”, does not have a special connection to one of the lyrics. But it does refer a bit to the text Svartalv wrote and have vocal on because the lyric on that song is about Svartbækken.
We also thought text in Norwegian was the best fit there.
Can you elaborate on the lyrical content and concepts that are present on “Uten Nådigst Formildelse”?
Stories from my hometown (and trying to create the atmosphere around the story of Svartbekken) were an important part of the lyrics on the album.
But I also wanted to include texts on other topics that interest me as well.
The lyrical dimension of the album is aimed toward darkness, the witch hunt that happened in Norway, and how it is to just feel a big void inside.
As a duo, how do you divide the songwriting and musical responsibilities within Ekrom, and how does this dynamic contribute to the overall sound and vision of the band?
On “Uten Nådigst Formildelse” I made all the music and come up with a draft. But when we recorded the album, we discuss and try different ideas such as where the synth should start, etc. Kenneth Skårholen, who produced the album, also came up with some ideas that we used.
On the next album I think Thomas will contribute with some songs too.
Can you share any memorable or challenging experiences you encountered during the recording and production of “Uten Nådigst Formildelse”?
There really weren’t that many big challenges when recording the album. For me personally, it is difficult to say enough is enough and say that now the song is finished. I often come up with new ideas that I think can improve the song. Another challenge is probably my head. I should probably have been better at structuring the recording process. When it becomes too much for me to think about, I often fall out.
Ekrom’s music has been described as a manifestation of time-honored elements. How do you balance paying homage to the classic black metal sound while still infusing your own unique creativity and innovation?
I’m not quite sure about that. I just make music, without thinking about how it will turn out. But of course, I want to try to make music that takes the listener on the same journey as me. I think the reason Ekrom sounds very 90s, probably is because I don’t listen too much to BM that was made in the 2000s.
The band’s Facebook page provides limited information about Ekrom. Was this intentional, and how does it align with the enigmatic and mysterious nature of the band’s identity and music?
Ha ha, it’s probably just a coincidence and no deeper meaning with limited information on our Facebook page. I’m not very good at social media. But today you have to be good at social media if you want to reach people. Probably have to get someone to work with the Ekrom’s SoMe.
What are your hopes and expectations for “Uten Nådigst Formildelse” in terms of reaching a wider audience and making an impact within the black metal scene?
I try to keep my hopes low. Sure, it’s cool if people like Ekrom. But it’s not that important for me to make an impact in the black metal scene either. As long as I have an inner motivation to make music, there is life in Ekrom, but if that motivation dies, Ekrom also dies.
Looking ahead, what are your future plans for Ekrom? Are there any particular musical directions or concepts you would like to explore in future releases? Thank you for your time!
We have now brought in some live members and are rehearsing for concerts. Otherwise, we are well underway with songs for the second album. If there will be any change of musical directions or concepts, time will show.
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